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Findability & Attracting Audiences


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Presentation at the ‘The Business of Digital Distribution’ Seminar, AFTRS Melbourne
11th April, 2006.

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Findability & Attracting Audiences

  1. 1. Findability & Attracting Audiences Christy Dena ‘ The Business of Digital Distribution’ Seminar, AFTRS Melbourne 11 th April, 2006 All comments in this box explain what I spoke about in conjunction with the slides. In this talk I outline, at each stage of production, the creative ways that film & TV producers have made themselves findable & attractive to audiences using new media.
  2. 2. <ul><li>Blog, podcast and RSS advertising are the fastest growing segments of the alternative media industry. </li></ul><ul><li>These segments, known as user-generated online media, expanded at an aggregate 198.4% to $20.4 million in 2005, and are expected to grow another 144.9% to $49.8 million in 2006. [ Alternate Media Research Series 1 Report ] </li></ul>I showed these stats on where advertising spending is being directed, to illustrate where marketers see the audiences as being
  3. 3. [Adapted from Alex Wipperfürth] <ul><li>Blair Witch Project </li></ul><ul><li>Target niche audiences first for “ripple effect”; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet Junkies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardcore Movie Buffs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Art House Movie Goers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Added traditional marketing techniques after launch to capture mainstream (whilst still addressing niche audiences); </li></ul><ul><li>All marketing “in-game”/within storyworld (missing posters @ Sundance, IMdb; </li></ul><ul><li>Website 2 years before release: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Range of media (text, video, stills, audio) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bite-sized content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leads into movie time </li></ul></ul>The immensely successfully campaign for the Blair Witch Project used techniques that are still highly relevant now, such as targeting niches audiences first, making all advertising an in-story experience…
  4. 4. Development Choose a good top level meme “ I ask Agent the name of the project, what it's about, etc. He says: Snakes on a Plane. Holy shit, I'm thinking. It's a title. It's a concept. It's a poster and a logline and whatever else you need it to be. It's perfect. Perfect. It's the Everlasting Gobstopper of movie titles.” Josh Friedman, 17 th Aug, 05 One way to facilitate your property to stand out, be attractive and inspire audiences is to create a good core idea and even a title that captures their imagination. Audiences, for instance, joined in with the screenwriter Josh Friedman and embraced the title of the ‘Snakes on a Plane’ film to the extent that they…
  5. 5. Development <ul><li>Citizen Marketing: </li></ul><ul><li>film trailers (24,000) </li></ul><ul><li>movie posters </li></ul><ul><li>B logs , </li></ul><ul><li>T-shirts </li></ul><ul><li>150+ photos on Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>poems </li></ul><ul><li>songs </li></ul><ul><li>audio trailer </li></ul><ul><li>14,000 posts + on Technorati </li></ul><ul><li>4.5+ mill results in Google </li></ul>… created huge amounts of content, and became ‘citizen marketers’ of the film. Audiences show their excitement by creating content. They are well versed in media languages, they want to share in the creation of the storyworld. So, what did New Line Cinema do in response?
  6. 6. Production Invite Participatory Design New Line Cinema invited the fans to participate in the creation of the film even further. They gave the fans an authentic way of being a part of the film. Of course, the competition helps keep selling the film & spreading the word too. But New Line Cinema didn’t stop there…
  7. 7. Production Acknowledge Fans <ul><li>Went back, after production had finished, & shot another 5 days, to address the fans expectations: </li></ul><ul><li>Turned it into an R-rating </li></ul><ul><li>Added “more gore, more death, more nudity, more snakes and more death scenes” </li></ul><ul><li>And shot a scene where Jackson utters their favourite adopted line: “I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!” [Hollywood Reporter] </li></ul>
  8. 8. Production Blog & Podcast Production <ul><li>Blogs and Podcasts are most appealing to people between the ages of 18 and 34. [ Jupiter Research ] </li></ul>Share your production process with audiences through a blog and/or podcast. You need to create an online presence long before a launch of your property, sharing the production process starts a conversation with audiences. Peter Jackson did it with King Kong. It facilitates a valuable bond with audiences who will grow with your vision and gives them a fan status before the property is released.
  9. 9. Pre-Launch Provide Content for Mashups &quot;Our assets become their assets, and that's how they become fans of the movie.“ Russell Schwartz, president for domestic marketing, New Line Cinema [New York Times] New Line Cinema (again) have recognised the desires of audiences: they want to participate in the creation of a product. They’ve offered songs from an upcoming film & a special player so that fans can create their own mashups. Appropriation of your content is a compliment.
  10. 10. Pre-Launch Arrange Presence in High Traffic Portals <ul><li>IMDb (Internet Movie Database) </li></ul><ul><li>Homepages: NineMSN, Yahoo!7… </li></ul>Get details about your property onto key sites that have a high search-engine ranking, and those that are used as homepages. Then refer the audiences to your own site.
  11. 11. Pre-Launch Negotiate Portal Positioning <ul><li>Print </li></ul><ul><li>EPG </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Phone </li></ul><ul><li>Online Aggregators </li></ul><ul><li>iTunes </li></ul>Negotiate, where possible, positioning in the menus of aggregators. And, of course, include all your meta-data to ensure you can be retrieved when searched for.
  12. 12. Be Your Own Portal <ul><li>Mobile Friendly Website </li></ul><ul><li>Bluetooth, WiFi </li></ul><ul><li>Viacom Outdoors Bluetooth Campaign for Channel 4’s fourdocs </li></ul>Or, be your own portal! Go direct to audiences by creating a mobile friendly website using free technology such as, or use wireless distribution like the documentaries that were distributed from posters via bluetooth.
  13. 13. <ul><li>Messenger Services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MSN® Messenger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>World-leading free consumer instant messaging (IM) service </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Serves 155 million MSN Messenger consumers in 26 languages. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitates 2.5 billion instant messages and 15 million simultaneous IM connections every day </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used in nearly every country in the world </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[ Guide to MSN Integrated Communication Services, 2005 ] </li></ul></ul></ul>Target Your Audiences Through Their Trusted Portals: Messenger Services “ Ticket sales for opening weekend totalled over £10 million – a fantastic result. The rich media campaign on AOL played no small part in achieving this.” Patrick Affleck, Senior Account Manager, Zed Media There is a much wider range of places that audiences congregate online. Many use the Internet for chatting via email & messenger services. Many films, like Bridget Jones, have been marketed through targeted campaigns on messenger services.
  14. 14. Target Your Audiences Through Their Trusted Portals: Games &quot;The study provides continued evidence that in-game advertising is a medium which brand managers across categories should be exploring, particularly if they want to reach the highly valuable 18-34 year old male audience.&quot; Henry Piney, Managing director for Europe, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment [Games Industry Biz] In-game advertising is another area that you can reach audiences who are not, for instance, watching TV or reading papers.
  15. 15. Pre-Launch Viral Campaign You can try and create a viral campaign, sending out highly intriguing videos and emails to create a buzz. ‘The Secret’ campaign engineered over 75,000 hits on their website since Nov 05.
  16. 16. <ul><li>Why Are Ideas Sent?: </li></ul><ul><li>they understand it – based on known concepts, visuals, short jokes, micro content </li></ul><ul><li>they want it to spread </li></ul><ul><li>they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind </li></ul><ul><li>the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits – easy to send </li></ul><ul><li>[ Seth Godin ] </li></ul>Pre-Launch Viral Campaign <ul><li>How Are Ideas Spread Now? </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Social Bookmarking sites like </li></ul><ul><li>Links (Banners) </li></ul>To be viral, your content needs to have these qualities, and make it easy for users to spread the information – provide quick links for them to email, linkback and index your site in their social bookmarking sites.
  17. 17. Advergames Advergames (flash games that are short, easy to master & are part of your property) are another form of viral advertising. They are usually light jokes, but The Hills Have Eyes film has a scary game for Australian audiences. The Death Jr . advergame generated over than 1.5 million unique visitors in its first month online [eROI] A month-and-a-half after hitting shelves, Death Jr. sales are exceeding projections by 135% [Adverblog]
  18. 18. Pre-Launch Internet Hunts “ Never before has anyone tried to orchestrate a scavenger hunt with the breadth of ours and the diversity of partners we have involved. […] The hunt combines the best of two worlds: fans of Tom Cruise and the franchise will now have the opportunity to get personally involved with the most exciting ‘Mission’ so far, and fans of J.J. Abrams...” Amy Powell, the vice president of interactive marketing, Paramount Pictures [Paramount Pictures Press Release] You can also run an online scavenger hunt, encouraging audiences to be a part of the storyworld (like an agent on a mission for instance), and using search engines to find clues that give them more information about the property & builds buzz.
  19. 19. Pre-Launch Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) <ul><li>Art of the Heist: </li></ul><ul><li>500,000 story participants </li></ul><ul><li>2 million unique visitors to </li></ul><ul><li>45 million+ PR impressions (McKinney-Silver) </li></ul><ul><li>Gold for New Product Launch, IAB/AdWeek Mixx Conference, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Gold for Online Integration, IAB/AdWeek Mixx Conference, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Silver for Viral/Word of Mouth, IAB/AdWeek Mixx Conference, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Best in Show award, IAB/AdWeek Mixx Conference, 2005  </li></ul><ul><li>The Beast: </li></ul><ul><li>3 million+ players all over the world </li></ul><ul><li>With ‘well over 300 million impressions through coverage in mainstream media’  </li></ul><ul><li>Best Idea, New York Times Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>Best Website, Entertainment Weekly </li></ul><ul><li>Best Advertising Campaign, Time Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>I Love Bees: </li></ul><ul><li>2 million+ players worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>“ [w]idespread coverage in the gaming press and beyond, including stories in the New York Times, CNN, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Wired, La Presse, and the London Times” </li></ul><ul><li>$125 million opening day [of Halo 2] eclipsed “Spider-Man” record for biggest opening weekend box office take (Becker, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Best Games-Related Site, Webby Award, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation Award, Game Develops Choice Awards, Game Developer Awards, 2005 (All stats from 42 Entertainment unless otherwise indicated) </li></ul>ARGs are forms of cross-media entertainment that capture the imagination & time of millions of players worldwide. They create buzz and are a dramatic and playful experience in themselves.
  20. 20. <ul><li>Set 40 years after the movie time; </li></ul><ul><li>Websites, faxes, emails, phone calls… </li></ul><ul><li>Described by Internet Life magazine as the ‘Citizen Kane of online entertainment’ [cited on] </li></ul><ul><li>Played by over 3 million people (evenly male and female) all over the world; </li></ul><ul><li>With ‘well over 300 million impressions through coverage in mainstream media such [as] Time Magazine , CNN , and USA Today , as well as from niche outlets such as Slashdot, Wired , and Ain't it Cool News ’ [4orty 2wo Entertainment] </li></ul><ul><li>Awards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best Idea (New York Times Magazine) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best Website (Entertainment Weekly) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best Advertising Campaign (Time Magazine) </li></ul></ul>The Beast, Microsoft & Dreamworks, 2001 Pre-Launch They involve players rummaging through websites, receiving emails, faxes, listening to calls, watching webcams, anything to help solve cases and save characters. The key lesson here: provide content, provide an enjoying & compelling experience at every step of your relationship with audiences, not just advertising as it has been known…
  21. 21. Pre-Launch Free Pre Release at Targeted Audiences iTunes: First episode of NBC’s Conviction offered for free via iTunes before broadcast, then charged $2 afterwards Google Video: Launched UPN's Everybody Hates Chris AOL: Launched Jack and Bobby Own portal: The Secret feature film offered for free using Vividas technology worldwide Many TV shows have been launched online, for free even. This targets audiences directly, builds a fan base, facilitates buzz and satisfies users’ craving for new and cool content.
  22. 22. Launch Cross Media Distribution “ Twelve years ago, you could reach 50 percent of the [American] audience with three TV spots, and today, it takes seventy. Media fragmentation has absolutely forced advertisers to rethink the way to build brands.” Chuck Porter , co-founder Crispin Porter + Bogusky [Quoted at BrandingUnbound] I’ve made this point many times: you cannot reach your audience through one media channel and through one arts type. People are using a wide range of media and their peculiar tastes are being satisfied with niche outlets. You’ll need your walking shoes…
  23. 23. Launch Cross Media Distribution “ Simultaneous release considered for films. DVDs now provide 59% of studio's feature film revenues, compared with 48% in 2004. Last year, only 15% of worldwide revenues came from cinema attendance, compared with 55% in the 1980s, when cinemas had to battle against the introduction of videos and pay television.” [Sydney Morning Herald] Audiences are global – networked Audiences can access any content, anytime Consider releasing your property simultaneously across media channels. Audiences expect their content on-demand & know when it is available in other parts of the globe, they also have media device preferences – at times wanting to watch on their iPod and other times on TV. Why not offer a bundle of distribution channels together so that audiences are driven between them & experience the benefits of each? 1 price = 3 portals.
  24. 24. Launch Networked Pivot Point <ul><li>Provide a site that acts as a pivot point, a signpost, to all the platforms your product is available </li></ul><ul><li>This increases your search engine status (also use meta-tags, cross-link with high-traffic sites & update regularly, etc); </li></ul><ul><li>Drives traffic between your distribution channels & therefore adds benefits to advertisers & affiliates; </li></ul><ul><li>Adds order to your disparate universe; </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences feel in control because they’re aware of all places your property exists; </li></ul><ul><li>Is an enticing list of things to do… </li></ul>TV Film
  25. 25. Launch Cross-Promote <ul><li>Don’t waste a single opportunity to refer your audiences to your pivot point or some other component in your property </li></ul><ul><li>Glue your Universe together </li></ul><ul><li>EVERY asset distributed should have a URL. </li></ul><ul><li>The best referrals are primed, they give the audience a reason to move between platforms </li></ul>For the secret of life, go to!
  26. 26. Post-Launch Cross Media Release: Podcasts Lost total audience rise 14% and ratings for adults 18 to 49 are up 28% Desperate Housewives ' total audience is up 7% and 18 to 49 ratings are up 3% The Office up 31% for adults 18 to 49 [ TV Week ] Offering your content over the Internet doesn’t decrease your TV & Cinema audiences, it increases them. Remember, start with online audiences and then move to traditional forms of media & advertising. Target the early adopters first.
  27. 27. Post-Launch Satisfy On-Demand Viewers Google Video iFilm YouTube ReelTime Maven… Audiences gravitate to places that provide unmediated content So satisfy those on-demand viewers by having your content available online, at key portals. These portals have high traffic, and so they’ll be the first point-of-call for most searchers. If they can’t find you online, they’ll give up on you pretty quickly. Places that offer content, for free is where the action is.
  28. 28. Post-Launch Satisfy On-Demand Viewers <ul><li>BBC’s iMP (integrated Media Player) 4 month Trial: </li></ul><ul><li>Download TV shows within 7 day of transmission window </li></ul><ul><li>Appealed to both males & females </li></ul><ul><li>All genres downloaded, with comedy, drama and documentaries (most popular) </li></ul><ul><li>5,000 users downloaded 150,000 programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Niche content was big too </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the viewing took place between 10.00pm and 11.00pm, after the traditional television peak viewing hours [informitv] </li></ul>The BBC realise how important on-demand viewing is. They even found that the they were watching the content out of peak hours. On-demand viewing is not a competition.
  29. 29. Post-Launch Notify Fans Directly <ul><li>Veronica Mars character left a voice message on fans’ phone 45 mins before the show; </li></ul><ul><li>Ratings climbed from a 1.4 share to 2.7; </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic to the show's website jumped 500% </li></ul><ul><li>[ Third Screen Media and Carat Fusion ] </li></ul>Be creative, people are busy, give them an in-story invite to join your property again.
  30. 30. Post-Launch Address Personalised Portals <ul><li>Opposite to Walled Garden Portals </li></ul><ul><li>Personalise Google </li></ul><ul><li>RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they can own you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stay informed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>push content </li></ul></ul>RSS/XML feed users are most likely to be in the age range of 35 to 44 [ Jupiter Research ] Once an audience has found you need to give them a compelling reason and the ability to keep you close. Update regularly and supply content through RSS feeds. Personalised portals mean audiences are feed your updates directly, rather than them coming to you. RSS is also being used to push mobile phone content..
  31. 31. Post-launch Extras Podcasts Don’t want to or cannot supply your content in new media forms? Share meta content, podcasts about the music, making of, scripts, interviews and so on about your show. Give authentic & generous content.
  32. 32. <ul><li>Audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Are fragmented: reach through multiple media channels; </li></ul><ul><li>Use multiple media channels: compliment and cross promote; </li></ul><ul><li>Have their own sites of trust: reach through trusted communities; </li></ul><ul><li>Have too many choices: rise above the crowd; </li></ul><ul><li>Are global: be accessible worldwide; </li></ul><ul><li>Want unimpeded access: be accessible 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world; </li></ul><ul><li>Are busy: help us find you quickly and enjoy the search; </li></ul><ul><li>Have a voracious appetite: keep supplying more; </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Laboratory of Advanced Media Production </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Christy Dena </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>